Antioxidant Ice

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Colorful and antioxidant-rich ice cubes filled with raspberries and blueberries.

Fill the ice tray with water and some fruits, berries or fresh herbs. Antioxidant ice cubes, easy to make and your drink will look and taste much better!

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Agave syrup – a good sweetener?

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Agave syrup comes from the Mexican plant agave. It’s commonly used as a healthier sweetener in baking because it’s more “natural” than refined sugar. Another reason why agave has become so popular is because it has a low Glycemic Index (GI). GI is a measurement of how quickly the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Because of the low GI, agave syrup doesn’t cause a high rise in blood sugar.

There’s not much glucose in agave syrup compared to regular sugar. Almost all of the sugar in agave syrup is fructose but the amount is very high. Every cell in the body can metabolize glucose while large amounts of fructose can only be metabolized in the liver. Excessive fructose consumption can lead to obesity when the liver starts turning fructose into fat.

Because agave has a low GI and doesn’t raise the blood sugar levels, it seems like a good alternative for diabetics. Agave could work as a replacement for sugar but unfortunately it’s not that easy! When you eat fructose-rich agave your body releases more insulin than if you were eating regular sugar. This could lead to insulin resistance for both diabetics and non-diabetics if it’s being used too often. If the body produces insulin and the cells can’t respond to it, it leads to high blood sugar.

A few teaspoons of agave syrup aren’t dangerous, but it’s good to know the differences between different sweeteners. Using sugar in moderation is much more important than the type of sugar you choose.

Kale and spinach juice

image1 (4)Kale and spinach are great to use in a juice. Both kale and spinach are high in vitamin C and K. These ingredients are also great sources of fibre, protein and iron. I blended this juice with a bit of fruit to make it sweeter and less bitter.

Ingredients (1 serving):

  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 apple
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2-4 kale leaves
  • 5 cm cucumber
  • mint

Toxic sun lotion

Winter is over and the sunny spring days are here. It’s been decades since we got to know the importance of protection in the sun. Wearing sunscreen outdoors decreases the chance of getting skin cancer. The dangerous ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) from the sun won’t damage the skin with the right protection.

What people don’t know is that the most sold sun lotions on the market can actually cause more damage than the actual sun. These lotions contain chemical filters and some of these chemicals penetrate into the skin when it’s been applied. This could lead to allergic reactions, skin irritation, hormone disruption and in worst-case cancer.

The body needs the sun to generate vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient, and all this worrying facts shouldn’t scare us. The sun doesn’t have to damage our skin. What we have to do is take precautions and choose smart in the jungle of sun lotions.

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The brand eco cosmetics uses only natural herbal and mineral sun protection filters.

Look for a sunscreen with mineral filters, with ingredients like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. It should be a non-nano product without small particles, so it can’t be absorbed into the skin. Many of these products leave the skin white, but there are transparent or toned sunscreens as well. My own experience with these products is that they don’t give the same protection; the skin sometimes gets red and burnt. Therefore I prefer combining and mixing two products, one toned and one “white” sunscreen.

Smart tips for a sunny day:

  • Apply a sun lotion with mineral filters before going out.
  • Clothes are the best protection.
  • Don’t hit the beach between 11am and 3pm.
  • Antioxidants in food can protect your skin.

Miracle grass

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Wheatgrass is grown from wheat seeds and is the young grass of the wheat plant. It’s harvested in an early stage, when its nutrients and minerals contents are highest.

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It’s far less expensive to grow your own wheatgrass but you can also buy it in powder form. The taste is a ”greenish” bitterness and you’ll probably not like it at first before you get used to drink it. Don’t let the taste stop you from adding it to your diet because this plant is great for you!

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A slow juicer is the best option if you’re juicing sprouts and grasses. It preserves all the nutrients and enzymes. Drink it as a shot or mix the wheatgrass juice with other vegetables, fruits and herbs.

This miracle grass is a great source of vitamin C, E, K and B complex. Minerals you find in wheatgrass are calcium, cobalt, germanium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, sodium, sulphur and zinc.

Benefits:

  • Magnesium can reduce fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Chlorophyll and zinc neutralize the pH, it’s super alkalizing.
  • Due to its high enzyme content, wheatgrass stimulates the metabolism.
  • Wheatgrass has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels – great supplement for diabetics.
  • Chlorophyll, beta-carotene and flavonoid compounds obtained from wheatgrass juice prevent and fight cancer.

When I do my groceries I…

  • plan ahead and bring a shopping list – saves time!
  • do most of the shopping in the produce department. Choose fruits and vegetables in various colors. The different colors of fruits and vegetables indicate the different nutrients they contain.
  • instead of potatoes I buy sweet potatoes, I choose spinach over iceberg lettuce and no rice but gladly quinoa.
  • choose locally grown and produced food.
  • rather buy frozen organic blueberries than fresh conventional blueberries. Frozen fruits and vegetables have just as much nutrients and sometimes more than fresh products.
  • never buy grapes if they’re not organic. Grapes are treated multiple times with various chemicals..
  • read on the product. Try to stay away from artificial ingredients and avoid buying it if there are ingredients you’re not familiar with.
  • compare prizes between organic and non-organic products. Sometimes there isn’t much of a difference.
  • look for healthy snacks and treats like dark chocolate, bars, nuts and ingredients for smoothies.

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Seasoning with basil

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Basil is the major ingredient in pesto. Layering fresh basil over tomatoes and mozzarella makes a delicious caprese. Let chopped basil boil in water for a few minutes and you have herbal tea.

These are just a few ways it can be used. When you read all the good things this seasoner can do for your health, I’m sure you’re going to try to use it a lot more often.

 

 

  • From 100 g basil you get 175% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Food rich in vitamin A can help the body protect itself from lung cancer and oral cancer.
  • Some nutrients in basil have the ability to take care of free radicals in your body. Those are beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin.
  • Basil is an excellent source of iron. Iron improves the hemoglobin’s ability to carry oxygen in the blood.
  • Holy basil contains essential oils, known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • The herb contains minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper and magnesium. Potassium helps control the heart rhythm and blood pressure. Manganese helps create enzymes for building bones. Copper can strengthen hair and eyes. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. These are just a few examples what minerals can do, they all play a huge role in the body’s systems.

Healthy pancakes

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This is a recipe for those who wants to avoid white flour and sugar in their pancakes. I’m using whole wheat flour and oats for extra fibre and Greek yoghurt for protein. The almond milk can be changed to regular milk and cinnamon is optional. A delicious, healthy breakfast!

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (or
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
  • coconut oil for the pan
  • berries and honey on the side

Directions:

  1. Toss the dry ingredients: flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk almond milk and egg in a separate bowl, add the yoghurt.
  3. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients in the large bowl. Don’t over-mix but make sure no lumps remain.
  4. Heat a skillet on medium heat and coat with coconut oil. Once hot, pour 1/4 pancake batter to form one pancake. Cook until the pancake starts to bubble and the edges start to set, then flip it over.
  5. Cook on the other side for about 2 minutes and the pancake is ready.
  6. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

Dirty and clean food

The coffee bean plants are one of the most chemically treated plants on the planet.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found residues from 56 pesticides in grapes.

Organic berries are richer in antioxidants than conventionally grown.

According to USDA the average potato has more pesticides by weight than any other produce.

Leafy greens and chilli peppers are often contaminated with insecticides and it’s toxic to our nervous system.

For different reasons you might not always be able to fill your fridge with only organic. What you’re looking for isn’t always available in the store or the price doesn’t suit your wallet. In that case it’s good to know which crops that are least likely to have pesticides residues. Here’s the list: avocado, pineapple, kiwi, mango, onion and cabbage. These are probably the cleanest non-organic fruits and vegetables you can find.

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My favorite coffee comes from RAW Coffee Company. Their coffee is organic, raw and ethically traded. Visit their website here for more information. 

Happy Licorice Day!

Today, the 12th of April, is the International Licorice Day so I decided to make a licorice smoothie for breakfast. It’s very easy to make and takes no time, all you need is a blender. I used some salt in the recipe to bring out a stronger taste of licorice and balance the sweetness from the dates

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Licorice smoothie with dates and chia seeds.

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 dates
  • 3 teaspoons licorice root powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 pinch of sea salt